New and Creative Lighting Techniques with KJ and JVS

Since I know many of you were not able to attend WPPI last week, don’t worry we have you covered. I’ll be posting many of the highlights, thoughts and speaker coverage over the next few weeks so stay tuned for lots of great stuff to come. Today I wanted to start out covering a talk that Kevin Jairaj & JVS did about Lighting. These guys both have some amazing work and use lighting in a really creative way. You can check out more of their work here:

New and Creative Lighting Techniques with KJ and JVS – WPPI Platform Presentation

What drew me into this presentation over the many other good options at this time was their work. Amazing wedding and portrait work and just stellar lighting. At WPPI I covered a range of different types of speakers to bring you all back some great tips in many different areas. I thought this might be a good one to gather some new lighting tips. Before I get into my overview of the talk here is a description of what the presentation was about from WPPI.

KJ and JVS will present fresh and innovative ways to breathe dramatic lighting into your images. Whether using speed lights, video lights, canned light or strobes, stand out from your competition while learning from two of the industry’s best.

First the talk was split in half with Kevin starting it out and then JVS finishing. I missed the first part of Kevin’s talk unfortunately but here are a few key things I took home:

How to use what you have. Sometimes you don’t have much to work with. For example you are in the brides house with nothing but the kitchen to shoot he uses a video light to illuminate the bride and let’s the background go dark and soft. Get in tight for a headshot. Create something dramatic from nothing. By using something like a video light you can quickly create a dramatic light that is only falling on your subject and really isolates them from the background.

He also showed some work which was very good and did many giveaways. In my opinion too many giveaways that really took time away from covering lighting. The last 30 minutes seemed to be all giveaways and even though I am sure the people that won didn’t mind I thought it was a waste of time to plug that many sponsors.

JVS has a similar style to Kevin but talked more about using speed lights instead of strobes. He likes the portability of speed lights and wants to be able to work as quick as he can. He also talked a lot about triggers, he likes to use radio poppers to fire his speedlights and talked about their reliability and ability to shoot at any shutter speed.

Most of JVS talk had some really good work but not much detail about how the image was constructed. It was a fast and basic “put one light to the right and one to the left behind the subject, done” type talk up until the end. There was no real tech details about how to get the shot. Its really to bad since you can do so much with simple speedlights and I think his talk would have been a little more effective to show less images and more detail about how (and why) the image was created and shot with the light it was. Lighting is so important however to really learn how to light you need more specifics. How far was the light from the source, what power was the light set to, what type of modifier was used on the flash? These types of questions are really key to getting great light and if you are just starting out learning lighting I think essential to know. I also know that you can only do so much in a quick 1 hour overview of lighting and know that he does have a lighting DVD available on his website that will probably go into some good detail.

It did end on a good note and here are some of the key ending highlights.

Sketch out your photo ideas before shooting. SO KEY! I think this really can be one of the most important parts about photography that we can forget. He sketches out all of his images and how the lighting diagram is going to be before shooting. He knows his equipment, thinks out the shot then executes it. If you don’t think about most of your details for a shoot right now I would challenge you to completely sketch out your next shoot. Once you get there and start shooting it might change a little but is a great exercise to do.

Then he ended with a live shoot which was nice to see. Even though it was a simple shot it always is nice to see a photographer working with a model. Seeing him interact with the models and how slight changes in light impact the images really help you to see how light works. The images were shown on screen as shot and it was good to see starting with one light and adding lights to the scene can impact the photo. He used 4 lights to setup a scene and walked through what effect each light had. He also did a shot with a Ring flash (Orbis ringflash). This is a flash that you pop your speedlight into to creates a ringflash. He uses this for detail shots and the detail you can get with this and a macro are pretty awesome. I’ll be reviewing some of these coming up soon!

It was a good way to end the presentation and the final quote that ended it was great

“With light all you need is an imagination”

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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